It is neither surprising nor unusual to find a company, small or large, where either the sales team or the marketing team dominates. It is rare, however, to find a business that’s put some thought into aligning their sales and marketing, and who thinks of the two functions as an equal and integrated team. Evidence suggests that highly aligned organizations generate nearly 40% more revenue than those companies who are less aligned. Organizational alignment between sales and marketing is critical for any customer centric business. According to The Payoffs of Improved Sales & Marketing Alignment, US businesses lose $1 trillion a year. This is due to wasted productivity because of misaligned sales and marketing strategies.
Wanting to align your teams for success is a great first step. Here are some tips on how you can achieve that goal.
When sales and marketing work together as one large unit, it fosters openness and transparency. Ask your sales and marketing team leaders to set up regular integrated meetings to track shared goals and have an honest discussion about workflow, obstacles and wins. This promotes a collaborative environment rather than as ‘us vs them’ attitude.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but marketing and sales must have the same definition of what constitutes a quality lead. Very often the disconnect comes from sales getting leads that marketing considers viable, but sales considers unusable. And this is because they each have different ideas of what a quality lead is. Getting the two teams together to document what makes a quality lead is a good starting point. Once a definition is clear and agreed upon, the teams can go forward from there, as to how to administrate each lead.
Invest In Technology
When the marketing and sales teams are aligned, and have the same goals and metrics, the work is not yet done. Now, they need a way to view progress together. A strong marketing automation software or customer relationship management (CRM) system will be able to handle this. A shared dashboard allows both teams to understand pipelines and real-time metrics, allowing them to shape their strategies together. They can instantly share information, send notes back and forth, and pull reports from the same database. In fact, studies reveal that a vast majority of the highest performing companies provide marketers with access to the sales team’s CRM system
Invest In Personal Time
When two teams need to work together, they need to get to know one another. Sometimes the only thing that is required to foster alignment between marketing and sales is allowing them to get to know each other socially. Instead of just attending joint sales and marketing meetings together, set time aside for the two teams to mingle outside of the office. Organize a group lunch, or a post-work happy hour. The more comfortable and friendly everybody is with each other, the more likely they are to work together effectively and lean on each other when necessary.
In any organization, results trickle down from the top. So for any departmental alignment to take place, the executives need to believe it’s important. Furthermore, support of the change from senior executives, will go a long way towards diffusing any tension between the teams, allowing them to accomplish their shared goals. Management support also means that team leaders can get approval to change the metrics used to evaluate each department. Marketing teams are usually evaluated on lead generation numbers, which might mean that they implement strategies to inbound a large number of prospects, many of which are of low value. Sales teams, on the other hand, are evaluated on how many leads they convert. Once senior management is on board, these metrics can shift, and the teams can truly align.
It can be an enormous task to align your sales and marketing teams, especially if they’ve been used to operating independently. In the end however, both sales and marketing have the same goal, and that is getting more clients and contracts for the company. Aligning your sales and marketing teams isn’t just a good idea for business housekeeping. It’s a move that will position you for greater success in a fluid market.